Care of the uncircumcised penis in the child

First the don’t! – Do not pull back the foreskin forcibly under any circumstances.

At birth, the foreskin, sometimes called the prepuce, is attached to the end of the penis, an area known as the glans. Over time, the foreskin separates from the glans, forming a space between the skin and the glans. Separation is completed in 50 percent of boys by age 3 years, 95 percent by age 5 years, and 99 percent by adolescence. So just wait it out, and it is very likely that the skin will retract back up to the junction between the head and the body of the penis, on its own.
In fact, there is a risk of injury to either the foreskin or the glans, if the foreskin is retracted forcibly. Many of these children who have had injury need to be circumcised at a later date.

Now for the actual care:

  • Change diapers frequently – This is not the place to save money. Don’t wait to get what you consider a “full load”! Apart from possible infections of the skin of penis in boys, you can get vaginitis in girls, or diaper rashes or increased risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Always clean poop from front to back – that way you are unlikely to get poop on to the genitals.
  • Treat it like just any other body part – clean the genitals with water and a mild soap (no role for using anti-bacterial soaps in routine bathing, as it only encourages the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs).
  • When the foreskin becomes retractable: Later, when the foreskin is fully retractable, boys should be taught the importance of washing beneath the foreskin on a regular basis. The foreskin should be dried before pulling it forward. The pulling it back to its normal position is very important, as if left behind, it becomes swollen and painful, a condition called as paraphimosis – if this should ever happen, please seek urgent, immediate attention.

Have questions or comments?